[16] For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:16

Have you ever thought that the smallest words can have the greatest meaning? Strange that! I was recently watching children at a spelling competition and the words were vast and complex but their ability to spell was amazing. But look in our passage at those small words “for,” “by,” “in” and the slightly longer word “through” they carry so much weight, so much significance.

There is such depth in those little almost unforgettable words. Here, Paul is using them to describe the wonder of such things as Jesus Christ and creation. Words that we can pass over quite easily but if you stop and consider them in this verse they are mind blowing. In fact, the more you meditate on these little words the more you see the glory of Jesus Christ.

When the early Christians gathered together to worship they sang hymns and spiritual songs like we do. Many theologians say that passages like Colossians 1:15-17 were what they sang. Let’s put a bit of bold capitalisation in there to to help us.

“HE is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. FOR BY HIM all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created THROUGH HIM AND FOR HIM. And HE IS before all things, and IN HIM all things hold together.”

When you build a building, someone has a idea, then that idea is given to an architect to create the plans and outline the materials to be used. You then select a builder, who takes those plans and puts all the building materials together to construct the building. Once completed, the building is ready for use or occupation. Then over time you will find it needs repairs or remodelling here and there. Not the best analogy I know, but I hope you get the idea.

Jesus Christ is the one with the idea, the architect and the builder of the universe. This is what Paul means when he says all things were created “in him.” In the depths and mystery of the divine mind of Christ were the plans for the cosmos, every massive detail of it and every tiny detail in it came from him.

Paul is pretty specific about the extent of Christ’s creative input. It encompasses literally everything, “all things,” by which he means everything “in heaven and on earth,” be they massive galaxies billions of light years away or the bed bugs in your bed (sorry). The “all things” includes what you can see and what you can’t see. Whether visible which includes the understandable like a tree (we know how it works) and the things that are un-understandable, like the sun (still much to learn) and the things invisible and intangible like a proton or gravity or a feeling or a dream. He conceived them all! Yup, everything.

Paul does not leave it there, he could, because by now we should be lost in wonder, love and praise however, he continues with Jesus Christ is the architect of every spiritual being, here described as “thrones” and “dominions” and “rulers” and “authorities.” Typical Pauline language for every conceivable type of rule both in heaven and on earth both good and evil.

He is not only the architect who conceived their existence and their complex make up but also their abilities. He is the artisan who actually constructed their being.

They were made “through” him, says Paul. John echoes this thought,

[3] All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

John 1:3

Yes, Jesus Christ is both architect and craftsman, he is the purpose for which they were created as well as the reason. “All things were created for him.”

Whatever exists, exists so that he might be glorified and praised and enjoyed forever. He’s the reason, the goal, the aim, the intent, the point, the purpose, the end, the consummation and culmination of every molecule that moves.

Does that stir you? Does it get deep into your emotions. Are you now moved to adoration and praise? Do you find unparalleled satisfaction and contentment in knowing that it’s about him and not you? Do you find delight in knowing that God didn’t create the world so he could have you but that you could have him?

John Piper

“ Do you love the thought that you exist to make God look glorious? Do you love the thought that all creation exists to display the glory of God. Do you love the truth that all of history is designed by God to one day be a completed canvas that displays in the best way possible the greatness and beauty of God? Do you love the fact that Jesus Christ came into the world to vindicate the righteousness of God and repair the injury that we had done to the reputation of the glory of God? Do you love the truth you personally exist to make God look like what he really is – glorious? I ask again: Do you love the fact that your salvation is meant to put the glory of God’s grace on display? Do you love seeing and showing the glory of God? This is why God created the universe. This is why he ordained history. This is why he sent his Son. This is why you exist. Forever to see and savour and show the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. . . . Do you embrace this calling as your treasure and your joy”

By him, through him, and for him.